Hammond OpEd: How California Uses Medicaid to Rip You Off

April 3, 2024

Bill Hammond is a journalist turned policy wonk and Medicaid subject matter expert who tends to take a hard line on what he sees as excessive Medicaid spending in New York.  Notably, Bill broke the story on the COVID-19 nursing home scandal here in NY.    Today, the Wall Street Journal published his OpEd on the MCO Tax as a fiscal gimmick.

How California Uses Medicaid to Rip You Off
by Bill Hammond
Wall Street Journal

Psst, have you heard about the new cheat code? It isn’t about slaying computer-generated dragons. It’s about gaming the federal Treasury—and states are rushing to cash in before Washington shuts the gimmick down.

The scheme targets Medicaid, the nationwide safety-net health plan for the low-income and disabled, in which Washington pays between 50% and 80%, depending on a state’s relative wealth. State governments have long milked this matching system by levying bespoke taxes on healthcare providers and pumping some of the revenue back into Medicaid. This recycling process conjures extra cash for both the state and its health industry by putting a double hit on the federal government: First, the feds underwrite half or more of the taxes collected from Medicaid providers, then they provide yet more matching aid when the money flows back as Medicaid spending…

Read the Full Op-Ed